Falcons’ Grady Jarrett: ‘There’s still a lot of optimism’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

caption arrowCaption
Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett comments on the team's performance in 32-6 loss to Philadelphia in season openerr.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Here’s what the Falcons had to say after the 32-6 loss to the Eagles on Sunday:

GRADY JARRETT, DEFENSIVE TACKLE

On takeaways from this loss: “It’s definitely tough anytime you take a loss. It’s not the way we wanted to start the season, but at the end of the day, it’s a long season. I’m sure there are going to be a lot of things we can learn from this and continue to grow, and our best football is definitely still ahead of us.”

On coach Arthur Smith taking blame for loss, getting better prepared moving forward: “I mean, I think there’s room for everybody to get better. Everybody made some mistakes out there today, and I feel like there was a play out there I could have made if I just ran through to the quarterback and sacked him right before. It would have been fourth down, right before that two-minute drive before the half. So, I mean we all have stuff we can get better at and as a coach, we appreciate him putting ownership back on himself, but we as players got to do better as well, too. We’re out there on the field and we got to execute.”

ExploreArthur Smith: ‘I did a really poor job getting us ready to go’

On plays that barely got away, importance of following through to make big plays: “You got to make the plays. And there’s no excuse. It sucks when you’re so close to getting there and it just goes back to preparation, you know, and executing on the day of the game. So, we got to make those plays when they’re there. We can’t keep being like ‘almost had it, almost, almost’ because it’s not getting the job done, so we have to make those plays when they’re there.”

On evaluation of Jalen Hurts’ performance, picking up blitzes: “I feel like we got some good pressure on him, but just didn’t get him down. But he definitely is very, very impressive with evading defenders and making throws on the run, so he definitely, definitely impressed me today and he’s a very, very strong guy. I tried to get him a couple times and he stayed up on his feet, so you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. They’ve definitely got a good one and I wish nothing but continued success. It’s always good to see somebody who overcomes what he’s overcome to have success. But as a competitor, we’ve got to be better and do what we need to do to win some games.”

On if there is a correlation between number of penalties and lack of preseason experience: “I wouldn’t say that. You know, some calls definitely didn’t go our way, but you’ve got to control the controllable. There were some questionable (calls) as always — every game you’re going to have questionable calls. The refs are doing the best they can, so I mean, we’ve just got to do what we do and respond, you know. I could sit up here and cry about it all day and it wouldn’t change the outcome, so whatever happens, if it happens, we’ve got to respond. They’ve got a job to do, we’ve got a job to do and that’s to play the game — they’ve got to call the game. I mean, it is what it is.”

On preseason optimism and continuation of that optimism going forward: “There’s still a lot of optimism. We feel good about this team and we believe in the guys we have and believe in the leadership we have. And there’s a lot of football out there and you know, this year we get an extra game, so we chop this one up and have 16 more to go and we’ve got a lot of good football to play and a lot ahead of us.”

On what makes the team confident they can get missed cues fixed going forward: “That’s what I work for. I don’t come to work to prepare to lose. I don’t come to work to prepare to get beat. I come to work every day, day in and day out, to put my best foot forward and to push other guys to put their best foot forward. Just because things didn’t go well right now — or in life at whatever time — you keep pushing. It’s going to come one day. But if you just quit, you aren’t ever going to get over that hump. So I’ve been here, I’ve been here through some tough times and I’m going to keep pushing day in and day out. Push my teammates to be better because we’re going to get over that hump and we’re going to keep pushing and we’re going to keep working and nothing anybody says is going to stop us from waking up, going to work and putting our best foot forward. Our circumstances don’t define us. We define where we’re at and are definitely going to put our best foot forward.”

On how frustrating it was for him with the ball coming out quick: “When the balls coming out that quick, it’s definitely tough, but it’s definitely strategic in their approach to the game and what they want to get done and spreading us out and getting guys to run sideline to sideline. So obviously as a rusher, you want them to hold onto the ball a little bit. As a defensive lineman, it was hard when you’ve got to go sideline this play and sideline this play. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to respond, so we’ve got to do better on the edges and we’ve got to be better at breaking to the sack and got to play what they give us.”

On his message to younger players on the team who might be frustrated: “Frustration isn’t going to get anything done. You’ve got to go back to work. You know, like I just previously said, if things aren’t going your way, you’ve got to keep grinding. You’ve got to keep grinding. We’re not front runners and when it gets tough, that’s when you’ve got to go hard because success is just right over that mountain top. You’ve got to keep pushing. You can’t quit because that’s a reflection on yourself as yourself. But as long as you’re fighting and putting your best foot forward, that’s all you can do and the result is going to take care of itself. Circumstances don’t define me, it’s not going to define this team and there’s a lot of football left.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

caption arrowCaption
Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley comments on the team's execution against the Eagles in 32-6 loss in season opener.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

CALVIN RIDLEY, WIDE RECEIVER

On his thoughts on the Week 1 loss: ”Not the way we were hoping the outcome of the game would go, but we have to go back to work and look at the film and get better from there.”

On what changed in the second half offensively: ”Philly, they did a pretty good job. They had a good game plan for us. Like I said, we have to go back to work and get better.”

ExploreFalcons offense sputters with Arthur Smith, Matt Ryan at controls

On Philadelphia Eagles making any adjustments to their game plan: ”Not a 100% sure on that and what they did. Like I said, they had a pretty good game plan for us, and we got to get better.”

On whether the team was ready for Week 1: ”Yeah, I feel like we were ready. We went out there and I thought we were ready, but you know, like I said, they had a pretty good game plan, and we could’ve been more ready and definitely executed plays better, but they finished pretty good.”

On how the team will have to change things around for next week: “I definitely believe in my team. Just got to go in there with our mindset to win the game and execute every play to the best of our ability, and we should be alright.”

KYLE PITTS, TIGHT END

On what it was like making NFL debut: “It was great, I had a lot of fun. My emotions where high and I was vibin’.”

On how he assessed his performance: ”I think it can be better. I just have to work and prepare myself for next week.”

On whether he felt like they where keying in on him: ”No, I don’t think so. I’m just part of the team, so when ever the ball come my way it does. Whether I get it in end zone or somebody else does we all score.”

On what was Coach Arthur Smith’s message after this game: ”Just to keep pushing on, it’s the first game and we have a long season to go.”

On what details he wants to work on: ”I would just say some of the small penalties and trying to eliminate those as a team.”

On the difference in college and pro: ”Being where you are supposed to be and making sure you are on the same page as team.”

caption arrowCaption
Falcons rookie offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield takes accountability for poor play in season opener against Eagles.

JALEN MAYFIELD, LEFT GUARD

On his assessment of his regular season debut: ”I thought I did some good things but there’s a lot I need to improve on. Other than that, you know, we got it out of the way and now we’re on to Tampa.”

On what he needs to improve on: ”I have to do everything better. There’s not one thing in my game that’s fully complete. I have to improve on everything that I do.”

On the experience of his NFL debut: ”It was fun. It would’ve been a lot better if we had won the game, but you know, got this out of the way and now we have move on to next week.”

On what changed offensively after the first two drives of the game and whether Philadelphia did things differently defensively: ”I don’t think they did anything different. A lot of it came to our mental errors. We did not execute to the expectation that we had for ourselves. There’s a lot to clean up and that’s why you go back to work next week and try to correct the things you do.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

caption arrowCaption
Falcons safety Duron Harmon comments on the defense's performance in 32-6 loss to Eagles in season opener.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

DURAN HARMON, SAFETY

On his evaluation of the defense’s play: ”We knew the quarterback was going to make good plays and we didn’t execute at the level we need to execute. We got to do a better job as a defensive as a whole. It’s not just the d-line or linebackers. We, as a secondary, pressure in a certain way to keep the quarterback in the pocket and we just didn’t do that today.”

On what his message to the secondary is: ”We have got to learn from it and move forward at the end of the day; we can’t just sit here and sulk. It didn’t go the way we wanted to go today but nobody is going to feel bad for us. We got to watch film Monday and then go play the defending Super Bowl champions next week and they’re definitely not going to feel bad for us. This league is all about improvement week to week and we have got a way to go to improve.”

On head coach Arthur Smith saying he didn’t do a good enough job to prepare the team and whether they felt prepared: ”That what your leader says, and that’s what I love so much about Art. The game didn’t go the way we hoped, and he wants to take all the blame. He did a great job preparing us. We knew what was coming, we just didn’t execute at the level enough to win the football game.”

On whether there is any concern with the defense: ”No concerns at all. It’s not the time to hit the panic button the only thing we can do right now is just keep preparing and keep getting better. The best team in football are the ones that keep getting better though out the year and I’m looking forward to this week in practice working to get better as a team.”

The Bow Tie Chronicles

For more content about The Atlanta Falcons

Follow me on Twitter @DOrlandoAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

Atlanta Falcons coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

About the Author

Editors' Picks